I Wish I Was A Unicorn

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Keeping You Up To Date

on June 24, 2013
Keeping you up to date:
Emails exchanged between myself and Scottish Government Ministers since last week:
20 Jun (4 days ago)

to me
Dear Mrs Leonard
Thank you for your email to Michael Matheson. Would it be possible to email me your postal address. The reason I am asking is that Mr Matheson is not allowed to take up individual cases for people who stay outwith his own constituency of Falkirk West.
However if you go through your own MSP and get them to write to Mr Matheson on your behalf it would then be investigated and you would get a Ministerial response via your MSP.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Andrew MacLachlan
Office Manager to Michael Matheson MSP
21 Jun (3 days ago)

to me

Dear Mrs Leonard

Thanks for getting back. You constituency member is Christina McKelvie MSP. If you get in touch with her she can write to Mr Matheson on your behalf.

I have sent you a link of her details as I know she has an office in Hamilton.


I hope this is helpful

With best wishes

Andrew MacLachlan

Office Manager to Michael Matheson MSP

Dear Mrs McKelvie,

I have been advised to write to you by Andrew McLachlan, the office Manager of MSP Michael Matheson, after I contacted Mr Matheson to complain about discrepancies between the publicity and the practice of the changes to NHS funded IVF services. He informed me that although my complaint is regarding a public health matter, Mr Matheson is unable to respond individually to those who are not his own constituents. He advised me that if you would be able to make a complaint on my behalf that I may receive an investigation and a ministerial response.

As with any issue regarding health services, there is the individual stories and the bigger corporate picture, and I hope you will not mind if I give you a quick personal history to put this complaint into context.

My husband and I have tried to conceive a child together since we married in April 2011 (Same day as Prince William & Kate). We were referred to an infertility clinic at Monklands Hospital after 6 months and since then have went through many humiliating/painful tests to establish our fertility status – we were warned right at the beginning that I disqualified us both from treatment because I was over the age of 38. In August 2012 we were told we both had excellent reproductive health, but that this was irrelevant because I had a blocked fallopian tube. She explained that this combination of factors made me the ideal candidate for IVF because my health, eggs, hormones was great & IVF is the only way to solve the tubal blockage problem. Unfortunately, we do not have the financial resources for IVF – the cheapest in Scotland is just under £4k. We were extremely disappointed, but did our best to try and stay positive and put our faith into practice.

Ten months after this we were absolutely delighted to watch, read and hear the announcement on every type of media possible – IVF funding will be FAIRER, Scotland will lead the way in new funding, for the first time, women aged 40 – 42 will receive a funded IVF cycle:
Where the woman is aged between 40 and 42, couples will be offered one full cycle of IVF provided they meet all necessary criteria and specific additional conditions

Unsure where to find more information I scoured the papers and found that we fit every criteria except the weight – I immediately changed my lifestyle to lose it. We had one last appointment (originally for a 2nd opinion) already arranged for June 17th. Between the announcement on May 15th until the appointment on June 17th I lost 21lbs, such was the motivation of receiving IVF.

You can imagine how devastated we were when I attended this appointment  to be told I am still too old, despite the fact that I am between the age of 40-42. The consultant showed me a print out from the National Infertility Group which stated:
Fresh cycles of treatment must be initiated by the date of the female partner’s 40th birthday, and all subsequent frozen transfers must be complete before the woman’s 41st birthday.

The consultant explained that due to referral times, waiting lists and treatment lengths, I would have had to have been 38 yrs old to qualify for the new criteria. Because the criteria says the first cycle must have been complete BEFORE the woman’s 40th birthday, it therefore needs to be performed when the patient is 39, and due to a waiting list of 12 months, she was unable to refer anyone over the age of 38, even then it would be cutting the time every finely. So in reality, there was absolutely no change from the previous age criteria of 38.

So my complaint is, the publicity and even the wording of the government announcement on it’s own website (Where the woman is aged between 40 and 42, couples will be offered one full cycle of IVF) is false due to two points. The first point is that the fine print states the woman must have her first cycle complete BEFORE she is 40, and the second point is that the current 12 month waiting lists mean even if the cycle was available up to age 42, she would still not be referred after her 40th birthday.

My husband and I would be grateful if you would make a complaint on our behalf to Michael Matheson in his role as Public Health Minister for Scotland.

Thank you for your assistance.

Cat and Steven Leonard


One response to “Keeping You Up To Date

  1. Jackie says:

    False advertisement, indeed! Well done on the letter, hopefully it will be addressed. Xx

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